Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes scored as Manchester United outclassed Real Betis 4-1 in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday, four days after their humiliating loss to Liverpool.
Erik ten Hag’s team, who were crushed 7-0 by their arch-rivals on Sunday, took an early lead through Rashford and although Betis equalised, the hosts dominated the second half to secure a morale-boosting victory.
“I think we played well, the second half especially. Good performance to give something to the fans, and they gave us something back as well because they were right behind us,” Ten Hag told BT Sport. “Very grateful after Sunday.”
Rashford scored his 25th goal of the season in all competitions after six minutes, controlling a cross from Fernandes and smashing it into the top corner to the delight of fans who braved the chilly temperatures and whirling snow at Old Trafford. “It’s a step back in the right direction,” Rashford said.
Ayoze Perez, on loan from Leicester City, grabbed his first goal for Betis in the 32nd minute but the equaliser did not halt United’s energy.
The hosts started the second half strongly and Antony put United ahead in the 52nd minute with a superb goal, launching a blistering left-foot shot from just outside the box into the top corner.
Fernandes, whose poor performance against Liverpool raised questions about his suitability to captain United, added the third, heading in a corner off the fingertips of Betis keeper Claudio Bravo. Dutch striker Wout Weghorst completed the rout.
In other first-leg games, Angel Di Maria’s goal earned Juventus a 1-0 win over SCFreiburg, Shakhtar Donetsk drew 1-1 with Feyenoord and Joan Jordan and Erik Lamela scored to lead Sevilla to a 2-0 win over Fenerbahce.
Premier League leaders Arsenal drew 2-2 at Sporting Lisbon and AS Roma beat Spain’s Real Sociedad 2-0. Belgium’s Royale Union held Union Berlin to a 3-3 draw in Germany.